• Madalyn Parker received a refreshingly compassionate response from her boss after openly taking a mental health day. (Instagram / @madalynrose09)Source: Instagram / @madalynrose09
Web developer Madalyn Parker received a surprisingly compassionate response from her CEO, that's since gone viral, after being open about taking time off of work for her mental health.
Chloe Sargeant

12 Jul 2017 - 10:55 AM  UPDATED 12 Jul 2017 - 10:57 AM

Madalyn Parker, a web developer at Olark in Ann Arbor, Michigan, screenshot her CEO's response to her 'Out of Office' auto-reply for her sick leave, and posted it to Twitter.Β 

The tweet has now been retweeted more than 12,000 times, and has gone viral across the world.

The screenshot shows Parker openly explaining that she has chosen to take what is commonly referred to as a 'mental health day', and that she would return to work "hopefully... refreshed and back to 100%" in a few days time.Β 

Parker make the rare decision to be completely open about taking a mental health day - and her bosses response was refreshingly positive.

"I just wanted to personally thank you for sending emails like this," reads the email from her company's CEO, Ben Congleton.

"Every time you do, I use it as a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health - I can't believe this is not standard practice at all organisations. You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work."

The concept of a mental health day is certainly not a new phenomenon - many of us have taken one at one point or another. However, due to the overwhelming stigmatisation and misunderstanding of mental health issues, the explanation for the sick leave is often purposely hidden, or left unsaid.Β 

People on Twitter were surprised and happy to see such a supportive and compassionate response from Parker's boss, and began to share their own stories about the negative responses they received when taking mental health days from work.Β 

Parker has been responding to many of the people sharing their stories with her, and has also recommended mental health groups to those who have been open about struggling at work.Β 

If you are living with mental illness or are having a rough time right now, remember you can always call the friendly folk at Lifeline on 13 11 14 (and they also have an online chat option, if you don't feel up to talking).

What it's like to be homeless and have a mental illness
"I just felt completely and utterly disconnected to you and your world. There's no thinking 'next minute, hour or day' like you do when you have the luxury of your own walls. It's just thought to thought, step to step."
Physical health ignored in people with mental illness
The physical health of people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder is often overshadowed by their mental health issues.
Living with mental health issues? There's an app for that
Apps hold amazing potential as mental health and wellbeing tools.
More Indigenous psychologists needed to address gaps in mental health
In the aftermath of the APS’s apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in September, former APS president Mike Kyrios urges there is still a long road ahead in bridging Indigenous mental health gaps.